When it comes to running a successful practice, there are always plenty of things you could add to improve results. What few practice owners and practice managers talk about, however, are the things that you might be better off taking away. In fact, the truth is, sustainable success in business is quite often driven by the “less is more” concept. If any of the following things are currently present in your veterinary practice, it may be time to let them go, once and for all.
A toxic staff member can cost you both clients as well as other talented professionals. If you’re currently employing one or more team members who tend to exude negativity, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your staffing strategy. This is especially the case with your front desk team, who are often the very first and the very last “touches” your practice will have with a client.
If you can coach the employee in question, great. If not, you may need to consider cutting ties. As for hiring new, consider candidates with excellent people skills vs. industry knowledge and experience. You can always train for those things when the time comes.
If every employee does his or her own thing, your practice won’t last very long. This is why it’s so important to establish and enforce formal policies and protocols. Each team member should be well aware of what’s expected of them. Consistency is critical, both in terms of keeping your staff on point as well as delivering exceptional care and service to your clients and patients.
Spend some time analyzing the way your practice is currently run. Ask your team to share their thoughts on what’s working and which areas they feel that improvements could be made. Work together toward implementing positive changes and tweaking them until you’ve finally got things just right. Getting feedback from clients is another great way to identify potential areas of improvement as well.
Pushy Sales Tactics
Upselling is an important part of running a successful business. But being too forceful with these options can have the opposite effect, costing you sales rather than bringing in more revenue. Make sure that every additional service or product you or your employees recommend is relevant and truly worthwhile.
A good tactic to use is to focus primarily on medical recommendations. If you do choose to suggest general pet care products, promote only those that you would use on your own furry family member, and make it clear why when discussing it with clients. And if a client doesn’t seem interested, don’t belabor the point.
Free Hot Beverages
Fresh coffee is something to be sipped and savored. But when is the last time you saw a client leisurely enjoying a cop of Joe while trying to maintain hold of their leashed dog with their other hand? Probably never. Additionally, the reason certain businesses (like car dealerships) offer complimentary hot beverages is because they know their customers will be waiting awhile and want to make them a little more comfortable. Is that really the impression you want to give to your clients?
If you want to offer something free to pet parents while they wait, stick to something more simple and convenient, like a bottle of water. And while you’re at it, you might as well offer something to keep the little ones busy, such as coloring books and crayons from the dollar store. In the meantime, move the coffee machine to the employee break room, where it belongs.
Success in any business often requires getting rid of policies, practices and sometimes even people who aren’t in line with the overarching plan. If any of the above are present in your clinic, moving on from them might be just the change you need to catapult your practice forward in a more positive, profitable direction.